Sandover medallist axed from State squad
Rory O'Brien in action for East Fremantle. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

A Sandover Medal and hot form in the current season haven't counted for East Fremantle star Rory O'Brien, who was cut from the State squad last night.

In a surprise selection pruning the squad from 29 to 25, O'Brien, his brother Brock, Subiaco's Chris Phelan and Swan Districts defender Justin Simpson are out.

Midfielder Rory O'Brien, Phelan and Simpson have been among the WAFL's best players this season, all three in the top 10 in voting for _The West Australian _Player of the Year award.

Brendan Lee will captain the WA team and Tallan Ames and Paul Bevan have been named as vice-captains for the match against the North Eastern Australian Football League in Sydney on Saturday.

Meanwhile, South Fremantle star Ashton Hams is available to play in the State game after being given a reprimand for striking Peel's Brady Grey.

And Dockers midfielder Anthony Morabito could play his first AFL game since 2010 next week after his front-on contact charge from the same match was withdrawn.

Hams' availability was confirmed as Subiaco pair Lachlan Delahunty (ankle) and Wayde Twomey (glute strain) withdrew from the WA squad.

Delahunty has had scans after accidentally kicking the shin of West Perth's Rohan Kerr on Saturday. He hobbled off but the Lions hope the results show only bone bruising at worst.

His absence has robbed the Black Swans of one of their few genuine tall forwards, forcing selectors to draft West Perth utility player Nic Rodda into the 29-man squad as a replacement.

The let-off for former West Coast forward Hams will also allow him to play in South Fremantle's next game - the derby against East Fremantle on WA Day.

But the reprimand handed out by the match review panel means he is ineligible for the Sandover Medal.

Hams was ranked No.3 in _The West Australian's _ list of the league's best footballers this year and has been in good form, averaging 26 possessions since ending his AFL career and returning to South Fremantle on a full-time basis.

Morabito, who has played seven games for Peel this year since returning from his third knee reconstruction, was booked for making front-on contact with opponent Brendan Verrier. But the WAFL match review panel found he did not have a case to answer. It was the second time this season Morabito had been cleared of a WAFL match-day report.

Subiaco forward Matthew Boland, who is sitting equal second on the WAFL goal-kicking table with 23 majors, would have been drafted into the State squad as a swap for Delahunty, but could not be considered due to a shoulder problem.

State coach Bill Monaghan pointed towards Rodda's six goals in the past two matches after being swung into attack for West Perth as the reasoning behind the 19-year-old's call-up.

"We needed another key forward who could probably look to play in the ruck or even go back if needed, so we've gone for a bigger body," Monaghan said.

We needed another key forward …"Bill Monaghan

The West Australian

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